It's super not uncommon for people to start feeling down as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. Colds and flu go around and its difficult to get your washing dry as every other day is cold and wet (I am all about Laundry Hacks in the Summer or Winter Months).
For many people this time of year sucks. Not for me however :P because, one - I am an Autumn baby who loves the cool weather (bring on #scarfseason yo!); and two because I am a crafty Naturopath who knows the one important trick to keeping my immune health in check (I haven't got time for colds, I'm too busy buying scarves and splashing in puddles!) and stopping me from getting a case of the sads during the winter months.
The secret is VITAMIN D!!
Most people reach for the Vitamin C or the Echinacea to ward of sickness during the cooler weather. These are great (although Echinacea is definitely not my first choice when it comes to warding off colds - I will save that rant for another time) but the under appreciated nutrient that helps keep you immune health happy is Vitamin D. Recent studies have shown that it not only keeps your immune system pumped and ready to go, but it is also the primary nutrient needed for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder otherwise known as SAD.
Check out the link for more details but basically SAD is depression or low mood that comes with the changing of the seasons. More commonly during the winter months.
Vitamin D is the stand out nutrient I recommend in clinic for treating this and the good news is you can get most of the Vit D you need from diet and lifestyle. Some people may need to supplement which is totally cool to. My favourite over the counter brands are:
Thompson's Vitamin D3
Blackmores Vitamin D3
Try to avoid brands like Ostelin or Swisse as they are made more cheaply and in my experience not as greater quality or efficacy.
However ideally you'd be getting your Vitamin D from lifestyle and food. Everyone knows that sunshine helps to boost levels of Vit D but many people are unsure of how much sunshine in enough and when to get it and not increase risk of skin cancers.
The best time for getting your sun in mid morning.
Best and (statistically) safest sunshine is from 9.30am until 11am. So if you get a break at work during that time or you can sit outside with your morning coffee, that would be perfect. Ideally for 30 minutes but if not possible for as long as you can.
The best patches of skin to help absorb some sun and produce some Vit D are the:
Then finally the best source for Vit D in the diet bar none is fish particularly salmon. Which just so happens to be my favourite kind of fish! Probably another reason why I do so well in the colder weather!
You can check out this Vit D Foods hand out that also details vegetarian/vegan sources of Vitamin D as well. But for those that do eat fish, keeping on top of your Vitamin D can be as simple as:
If you are doing this you should be absorbing more than enough Vitamin D to ward off the sickies and ward of the sads.
If you have any questions about this feel free to leave a comment below or contact Naturaljaz for more info :)
- Jaz xx
Jaz is a Naturopath, Pathology Testing Adviser and educator. She practice as a Naturopath in Melbourne, Australia and via skype worldwide. She teaches fellow practitioners on pathology testing and educates pracs and the public on the bridge between Naturopathic care Biomedicine.